Happenings 28.5.20

How is it nearly June?! This year, in a very good way, is flying by and although its not been the year we had all planned, I’m sure its one most of us will be glad to see the back of!
In terms of my blog posts, I’ve found I’ve wanted to blog/post a lot more, now I have the time, but end up staring at a blank page for a long time and unsure
of what to write.

So, I’ve decided to do one of my favourite posts, summing up the past month and, as always, inspired by my friend Heidi.

DOING: Sitting in the garden. A place I’ve spent the majority of this lockdown, enjoying the beautiful sunny and warm weather we have been having. 

HEARING: The odd bird singing away and a neigh or two from the horses in the field behind our house. 

EATING AND COOKING: Wow, where do I begin?! Thanks to a friend, who kindly gifted me some of his sourdough starter when mine died, I’ve pretty much mastered the sourdough baking. I currently have loaves coming out of my ears, thanks to another friend, who gave me a gorgeous cookbook called Aran for my birthday and has, in my opinion, the best sourdough loaf recipe I’ve found! The book has some other gorgeous recipes from croissants to cakes and even salads – perfect for these hot days we’ve been having. 

There will be a separate post about all the baking I’ve done, so sit tight for that one! 

Being home, I’ve also had the chance to do more cooking for myself and my parents, which I have really enjoyed. I love nothing more than to get lost in a recipe, explore new flavours and ingredients but mostly use it to switch off from everything going on around me. We have also been having local fruit and vegetable boxes from local cafes and businesses delivered, and for the past couple of weeks, have based our week night meals on the contents of the box. Again, it gives us less choice and allows us to be more creative and try recipes we wouldn’t normally choose. 

WANTING: Life to go back to normal, although I know it never fully will. I want to be able to hug my goddaughter and friends, family, race again and enjoy going out to eat, the cinema and sit in coffee shops. Little things I guess I took for granted, but will cherish even more now. 

ENJOYING: Online Zoom classes. Be it PT, Pilates, foam rolling and many of Laura’s classes. I’ve enjoyed still being able to see friends and workout “together”, have a chat and laugh. And FaceTimes and calls with friends and family!

Our lockdown rules were also lifted recently, and we can now meet one other person outside, 2 metres apart. Charlie and I jumped at this opportunity to get a run in together and it was wonderful!!!

LOOKING: Forward to a new start. Goodbye’s are so hard and I have really struggled digesting being made redundant. Being a nanny is an extremely intimate job and caring for little ones, it’s hard not to become attached. However, I know it will get easier as time goes by and I have many wonderful memories with that family.

DECIDING: On a change of career, although it’s been a little trickier than I originally thought. I have always wanted to be a midwife and I feel like now is the right time to go for it. I’m SO thankful and lucky to still be living at home, and after a big discussion with my parents who instantly said they’d support me whatever, I applied to some universities. Sadly, I didn’t get accepted, a kick in the gut, but it hasn’t stopped me from pursuing my dream.

WATCHING: Not a great deal, however, I recently finished a Netflix series called Sweet Magnolia. I suggest you all run, don’t walk to your tv’s, because I highly recommend it! Admittedly it does take a few episodes to get into BUT then it suddenly takes off and let me tell you now, you’ll be wanting series 2 to arrive ASAP!

I’ve also been working may way through Gilmore Girls, and I’m absolutely loving it – why did it take lockdown to get me to watch it, I don’t know! Big thanks to Sophie for getting me hooked!

Other Netflix series I can really recommend are – Outer Banks, Unforgotten and my favourite, Cheer.

READING: I had started ‘The Giver of Stars’ by JoJo Moyes a few weeks ago, however, I haven’t picked it up since. To be honest, I’m finding settling down with a book quite hard at the moment, maybe my head just isn’t in the right place for a book but I’m sure I’ll pick it up again soon. Or in fact, make myself pick it up!

PLANNING: How to get some healthcare experience, which is obviously not the best time to be doing so, as all mother and baby groups and breastfeeding clinics aren’t running and I’m not sure how open armed hospitals are at the moment. However, I shall continue to reach out.

BUYING: Nothing other than fresh fruit and vegetables from local markets/small businesses and the essentials – coffee being top of the list here! There is nothing I need, nowhere to go and spend money, so for now I’m saving it. 

CRAVING: Cold fresh fruit, salads and light meals. Standard summer cravings! Also Kombucha. My favourites are Equinox – Ginger – and L.A Brewery, however I find this one really hard to find! I managed to come across two bottles at a local cafe I popped into the other day and treated myself.

WEARING: Basically Sweaty Betty or Lululemon….both brands are just so comfy and I spend a lot of my weeks doing at least a class a day! I can’t remember the last time I wore “real” clothes! Haha!

I love this Sweaty Betty running T-shirt! Great for cooler mornings/days. I got it in the sale last year so not sure if it’s still around!

LOVING: This amazing weather we’ve been having. It’s made getting out for a run so much more enjoyable! I also highly doubt I/any of us will get to travel abroad this year, so having this hot, sunny spell has slightly made up for it. Travelling and exploring new countries is definitely one thing I’m going to do more of when this is all lifted.

PLAYING: Scrabble! My mum and I really enjoy a game in the afternoon or evening, making the most of being outside in the warm summer heat.

I’ve also taken part in a few virtual races put together by Brooks and a friend!

SAVOURING: This time off, at home. I still do feel very guilty that I am not working but with a career change hopefully on the horizon, I don’t know if I’ll ever get this time again. So I’m soaking up the slow mornings, lazy afternoons, for now, and trying to let the guilt go…

FEELING: A real mix of emotions. My mood definitely differs from day to day but I’m learning to just take it as it comes and ride it. It’s definitely been a tough few weeks, and I know I’m not the only one who has experienced job loss alongside other troubling moments.

Sending much love to you all and leaving you with this quote that my aunt posted recently.

 

Much love, stay strong,

Emma xx

How I started running

Back in my primary and secondary school days, I wasn’t interested in sports. I took part in P.E. lessons and sports day, but outside of school, swimming lessons were the only activity I semi enjoyed.

I remember it all began after talking to a friend about the marathon she had just completed. Feeling so inspired and motivated by her, I decided I wanted to give running a go! I looked into how to get started and found the Change for Life Couch to 5k App.

One afternoon I downloaded it, plugged my headphones in and off out I went that evening after work. I felt really self conscious of myself and running in public, so I kept to the quieter streets and woods, so no one could see me. As the days turned into weeks and my running grew, so did my confidence.

If you are unfamiliar with the Couch to 5k app, it is a programme set up to get people running. First developed by a guy named Josh Clark, the programme consists of three runs a week, with a rest day in between. Every week is different and aims to increase the amount of time you are running by using a run/walk routine (one I still use, and love, to this day!). The end goal, being able to run for 30 minutes or 5k without stopping.

After completing the 9 weeks, I felt extremely proud of myself and happy! Starting on week 1, running for 1 minute sounded easy but I remember it being quite difficult. Some weeks I remember being quite challenging and sometimes didn’t think I could keep going. It tested my physical and mental health but I learnt so much from it. To build up to running for 30 whole minutes without stopping, seemed impossible when I started, but amazing once I’d finished!

Since then, my running has continued and grown more than I ever expected it to. From 5k, I climbed to 10k and then all the way up to an Ultra. Unexpectedly I had found a sport I enjoyed, got excited about, helped me mentally and physically, gave me experiences and chances I thought I’d have and a whole bunch of new and lifelong friends.

I have a lot to owe the Couch to 5k app, and highly recommend it if you are wanting to get into running! Unfortunately the Change for Life Couch to 5k app isn’t around anymore, but there are plenty of others on the app store. I believe you even get to choose from a range of celebrities to ‘coach’ and motivate you along the way!

If your not sure where to start looking, my friend Charlie, also known as TheRunnerBeans, recently recorded a podcast about the Couch to 5k app. It includes some inspiring stories/experiences from runners who have used it and you can find it here. I highly recommend her podcast if you are unsure of getting started and need some questions answered! All her podcasts are great, they are informative and so easy to listen to!

If are thinking you want to give running or any sport/activity a go, do it! I’ve realised life is too short to “wait another day”. This app really changed me and I can’t recommend it enough!

Stay safe and well and have a lovely weekend!
Emma xx

My 30th birthday and one to remember!

Rewind four months ago, to early January. I was sending save the dates to friends and family because this year, my birthday fell on Easter Sunday and I was turning 30. At first I’d planned not to have a party, but instead a few close friends and family over for tea and cake, but the more I thought about it, the more ideas filtered into my head and I started to get excited.

I’d booked a hotel room, secured a band, found a baker to make my cake and ordered invitations to send out. Then within weeks a pandemic had hit the world and events were being cancelled left, right and centre. I held on, very tightly, to the fact I could still hold my party but within a few days, things had escalated and it was when my friend Cortney told me she was cancelling her flights to the U.K., that it really hit hard. Gutted, to say the least, I had a strop, cried hard and shouted. This virus was ruining events for everyone but that aside, it was also killing people in its path and was not a force to be reckoned with.

As weeks turned into months, we all came accustomed to our new way of life. Everyday felt like the movie Groundhog Day, and no, I don’t suggest you watch it! And, with the Easter weekend fast approaching, I was going to make it my mission to not let it be like any other weekend. Running up to my birthday, flowers, gifts and lots of post started arriving and I was actually feeling quite excited about celebrating.

On Sunday morning I woke up and the sun was shining. With the rest of the household, including the dog, still fast asleep, I snuck out for a short run. It was so beautiful and warm out, wearing shorts (finally) and feeling the sun on my skin was so lovely. I returned home, showered and put on my favourite dress. I was determined to make this day different to any other day, and just wearing a dress made me feel so much better. I came down to find the kitchen table decorated with balloons, presents, cards, coffee and breakfast cooking. We took it slow, I opened my cards and the presents followed.

Throughout the day, the love I received was overwhelming. Alongside the cards, flowers (SO many flowers!!) and presents family and friends had sent, the messages, comments on my social media, texts and Facetime made it so special. So thank you so much to everyone for all your love!

The rest of the day was spent in the warm, sunny garden. We had tea and cake, that my friend had very kindly made me, and boy was it good! I have to admit it did NOT last more than a few days. We Facetimed my uncle, then my aunt before my dad and I took some cake to my Grandma’s house. She lives only a short 5 minute drive away, and she needed some other essential items, which we dropped off too. Don’t worry, we stood the 2 metres apart, after dropping everything on her doorstep, knocking on her door, and standing back. She lives alone and I think is starting to find everything really quite hard. Seeing others in person is a lot different to seeing them on the screen or hearing them on the phone, and I think she really enjoyed a chat and seeing us on our short visit.

Home and sat with a gin and tonic, I took this moment to think and reflect on my day. No it was no where close to what I had planned it to be, but it was wonderful. I was with two of my very favourite people, I had cake, Mungo, and was showered with love. I felt special and if you ask me, that’s exactly what you should feel on your birthday!

A massive thank you to everyone, again, for all the presents, love, messages and birthday wishes. I am truly lucky to have every single one of you in my life. I can’t wait for this lockdown to end, so I can see friends and celebrate through plans that have been made, and for next April to come, when I will be celebrating my 30+1 birthday with a bang!

Much love to you all!

Emma xx

Brilliant video made by my cousin and aunt!

1 month of being furloughed and lockdown life

A friend, who always comments on my blog posts (because, truthfully, I never thought anyone even read them), recently made a suggestion to me about what I should post about. I really like it when anyone gives me ideas, as I do find it hard to find things to write about. So please do comment or let me know what you’d like me to post about!

 

I can’t quite believe it’s been a month since Boris Johnson announced lockdown. Like many of you, I wasn’t surprised. Other countries at this point had already called their lockdown and set stringent rules for the public to follow. Listening to him make the announcement was…mixed. My heart was in my throat, I felt nervous, anxious and worried but also relieved – it was the right decision. The seriousness of this situation had finally hit home. Hard.
A few moments later, I got a call from my boss. He told me, nicely, that I shouldn’t come back into work and agreed to touch base once they had figured out the next step and discuss then. Going to bed feeling exhausted, and life as we knew it, was about to change.

The next day I woke up feeling all out of sorts. It was a beautiful sunny day, so I decided to take myself for a run to get out for some fresh air. We were now only allowed to exercise outside, once a day.
Later on I had a call from my boss, explaining that the only option they had was to put me on furlough (temporary leave). I’d seen this word floating around a few days prior to lockdown but didn’t look into it. It means that I will be paid 80% of my salary, from my boss, who is then reimbursed by the government. I was happy, sort of, with they had proposed by couldn’t help but feel helpless already. I knew that this plan was the best for everyone but as my bosses were still able and expected to work, from home, I felt like I wasn’t pulling my weight in the whole situation. Many friends, and my parents reassured me that I was doing my part in all of this – staying home, protecting the NHS and saving lives. Hard to accept and do, and to this day, it still is.

So now the real challenge began…keeping myself in a routine and occupied.
I decided my days/weeks would be based around my usual exercise classes/activities, runs and very quickly I got myself into a loose routine. I am so thankful to my PT, pilates teacher and friends, who have kept their classes and PT going over zoom. I started looking into ways of helping the local community, by baking and cooking meals, and to help my anxiety and worries, I limited the amount of news I watch and read.
I can’t imagine being on my own through all of this and my heart goes out to everyone who is finding it hard at the moment. I want you all to know that my DM, messages, are always open if you need someone to chat to. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact.

As days turned into weeks, albeit slowly, I do feel like I have settled into this new way of life. Yes some days are harder than others, but I’m learning to take each day as it comes and deal with the different emotions each one brings. Alongside classes I’ve been reading, watching some TV, started Gilmore Girls again, Facetime friends and family, baking and cooking for the staff at local hospitals, helping mum sew bags and scrubs and popping out to get essentials for both us and Granny. I’ve really enjoyed these little things, as it makes me feel like I am helping and doing my part in all of this.

With many more weeks of lockdown to endure, I plan to keep the same tasks and routine in place and my aim is to finish another book.

I wanted to thank everyone for their support, love, kind words, funny quotes but most importantly to the NHS staff, service men and women, staff at the supermarkets, and anyone else going out daily to work. You are all amazing, you’re keeping this country going and I can’t thank you enough.

Take care everyone. Stay strong, positive, remember to smile and embrace the little things that mean so much at the moment. This will pass and will come out the other side.

All my love,

Emma

Happenings March 2020

A little later than I had intended to post this blog, but anyway, here it is! A post I always enjoy doing and, as always, inspired by Heidi.

DOING: Sat at the kitchen table with the backdoor wide open and the sun streaming in.

HEARING: The birds chattering outside and the dog crunching at a pre walk treat.

DRINKING: Water and a very strong coffee. I’m so glad I bought a double bag of beans from a local cafe in town the other week!

BUYING: Local produce, from small businesses. Be it in the form of a veggie box, meat from the local butcher (which we’ve always done) coffee beans or bread. Some of our favourite restaurants and cafes have also been offering a ‘fill your freezer’ menu, so we’ve purchased a few meals from them to have.

EATING AND COOKING: Lots of fresh vegetables and fruits. Making do with what we can get, when we can get it. Ocado hasn’t been the most reliable source to get food from, but we’ve been enjoying making meals with what we have to hand – in fact I actually love this challenge. Don’t get me wrong, following a recipe, but also enjoy experimenting and putting different flavours together.

WANTING: Life to go back to normal, for everyone. So badly.

LOOKING: Forward to running with friends, drinking coffee in a coffee shop and watching the world go by but mostly hugging everyone!!!

DECIDING: What to do on my birthday….this year it falls on Easter Sunday. I feel like I want to do a challenge of 30 things…any ideas more than welcome!

ENJOYING: This beautiful, warm and sunny weather. It’s making being at home, and not working, a lot easier. I can play in the garden with Mungo and sit in the sun and read my book. I’m also enjoying just moving slowly, especially in the mornings.

WATCHING: A few films on Disney+, ‘The Nest’ on BBC 1 (which I HIGHLY recommend to everyone!) and ‘The Morning Show’ a recommendation from Anna!

READING: ‘The Giver of Stars’ By JoJo Moyes. My mum was reading it, as I was half way though ‘Cilka’s Journey’ at the time. A book I highly recommend alongside ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz’ (both written by Heather Morris.

WEARING: Gym leggings, fluffy socks and my favourite high school sweatshirt! All about the comfy clothes at the moment and I honestly can’t tell you the last time I wore “proper” clothes…maybe a goal for my birthday on Sunday!!

PLANNING: Tomorrow….I’d love to say I was planning things for next week or next month or the summer, but right now I feel like we are living day by day, and at a push, week by week.

PLAYING: Staying sane….and occupied! I’ve written a list of jobs I want to get done and they will all be ticked off by the time this is all over!

CRAVING: Seeing friends and family/social interaction! I am very lucky that I still live with my parents, so I’m not alone, but boy do I miss seeing familiar faces! Sorry zoom and Facetime, you’re great, but just not cutting it!

LOVING: The huge amount of people who have clubbed together to get fabric to people to help make scrubs for the NHS staff. Along with companies etc who are donating gloves, masks etc. The sense of community and coming together to help each other out, at this hard time, is overwhelming and such a warming feeling. Well done everyone, and a massive thank you to NHS staff! 💙

SAVOURING: This period of time where, those who are able, can slow down and be at home. Safe and with loved ones, be it our boyfriend, husband, children and pets.  To those of you at home alone, I hope you are doing well and just know that you are in my thoughts everyday, as I can imagine this can’t be easy.

FEELING: Loved. Safe. Lucky. Thankful. For everything in my life.

To everyone who is reading this. Stay safe, stay well, stay positive and strong. Sending lots of love and positive vibes your way and remember –

“This, too, shall pass” William Shakespeare.

Much love,

Emma xx